[Friday Sermon] The Prophet Is Closer To The Believers Than Their Own Selves

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

All thanks and praise is due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds.

Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Brothers and Sisters! As Muslims, we are commanded to love the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and to follow his path without any religious deviations or innovations, in order to worship Allah the Almighty in the way that He commanded. Sometimes, unfortunately, our claims of love fall short, and thus there are signs that we can reflect on in order to analyze how much love we truly have for the greatest human being to walk this earth, peace and blessings be upon him.

Servants of Allah! Abdullah Ibn Hisham reported that:

“We were with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he was holding the hand of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. Umar said to him: “O Messenger of Allah, you are more beloved to me than everything but myself.” The Prophet said: “ No, by the one in whose hand is my soul, until I am more beloved to you than yourself.” Umar said: “Indeed, I swear by Allah that you are more beloved to me now than myself.” The Prophet said: “Now you are right, O Umar.” [Al-Bukhari]

And Anas Ibn Malik reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: None of you has faith until I am more beloved to him than his children, his father, and all of the people.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Brothers and Sisters! Let’s ask ourselves now. Do we truly love the Messenger of Allah? Because it is a fundamental of our religion, and a tenet of our faith, to love him. Allah the Almighty Says:

“Say [O Muhammad]: ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, your wealth which you have obtained, commerce or business wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and struggle in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” [Quran, 9: 24]

Imam Al-Fudhayl Ibn Iyadh said:

“This verse is enough of an evidence to prove the obligation of loving the Prophet because Allah dispraised in it those whose wealth, family or children are dearer to them than the love of Allah and His Messenger, describing them as defiantly disobedient at its conclusion.”

Servants of Allah! Love of the Prophet branches from Allah’s love of him; our love of the Prophet is due to the fact that Allah loves him, and because Allah sent him to us as His Messenger, as well as the fact that Allah instructs us to make him dearer to our hearts than our own souls. He Almighty Says:

“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves…” [Quran, 33: 6]

This means that the believer should love the Prophet (Peace be upon him) more than he loves his own self.

And my respected people! This love entails full obedience, full submission and full acceptance; it also entails favouring the Prophet (Peace be upon him) over oneself, one’s family and one’s wealth, and to surrender to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the controlling direction that one has over himself.

The influence that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) should have over us is greater than that which a master has over his slave, or a father has over his child. We should have no control over ourselves except in acting in accordance with the way he directed us to. It is for every Muslim to prove his love for him, which can be determined according to the following narration of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“There are three qualities; whoever has them will taste the sweetness of faith: To love Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) more than anyone else…” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

And one will never taste the sweetness of faith except after achieving this, as he said (Peace be upon him) in another narration:

“I swear by the One in whose Hand my soul is! None of you will truly believe until I become dearer to him than his child, his father and all of mankind.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

My Dearest people! This love is not simply an emotion that is confined to the heart, but rather it has implications and effects. This love makes the servant of Allah achieve a rank that he would not otherwise achieve by means of his bodily deeds, as in the narration of Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:

“A man came to the Messenger of Allah and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! When will the Hour (i.e., the Day of Resurrection) come?’ He replied: “What have you prepared for it?” The man said: ‘Only my love of Allah and His Messenger.’ The Messenger of Allah then said: “You will be with those whom you love.”” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It is not as important to know when the Hour will occur as it is to prepare for its arrival, and this is the reason why the Prophet drew this to the attention of the man by asking him that question.

Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“After being blessed by embracing Islam, we never rejoiced at anything as much as we did about this answer of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to that man. I love Allah, His Messenger, Abu Bakr and Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, and hope to be with them (in the Hereafter) even if I cannot perform the good deeds they did.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Servants of Allah! The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, had great love for the Prophet (Peace be upon him), to the extent that they would face arrows that were being fired in his direction to shield him. They would risk their lives for him and sacrifice everything they have for his rescue. Amr Ibn Al-As, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“There was no one dearer to me or more glorified than the Prophet; I could never look at him directly in the eye due to the extent of my glorification, and if someone were to ask me to describe him, I would not be able to, as I never looked at him for long enough to be able to describe him.” [Muslim]

When Abu Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with him, was still a disbeliever, he asked Zaid Ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, who was taken as a hostage and being brought out by the people of Makkah to execute:

“Do you not wish that Muhammad was in your place and that we killed him instead, while you could go to your family and be with them?” He, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “I swear by Allah! I would rather be here facing this than have him even being pricked by a thorn.” Upon hearing this, Abu Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I never saw a people who love a man more than the Companions of Muhammad love him.”

Such incidents greatly affected the disbelievers and caused many of them to embrace Islam.

A man from the Ansar, may Allah be pleased with them, came to the Prophet and said:

“You are dearer to me than myself, my child, my family and my wealth, and I feel as if I am dieing when I do not see you.” Then he began to cry. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked: “Why are you crying?” The man replied: “I remembered that we will die and you will die, then you will take your place in Paradise with the other Messengers and Prophets, while we, if indeed we do enter Paradise, will be lower in rank than you, and thus we will not be able to see you in Paradise.”

Note how much they loved him; they were worried about not seeing him, despite the fact that they may also be in Paradise!

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not comment on his words until Allah revealed the following verses:

“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the Prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as Companions. That is the bounty from Allah…” [Quran, 4: 69 -70]

Thereupon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) summoned him and said:

“Glad tidings to you!” [Al-Baihaqi]

Once, a female Companion was waiting at the approach to Al-Madinah for the return of the Muslim army from the battle of Uhud. She was informed that her husband, brother and father were killed, but her only reply was:

“What happened to the Prophet?”

They told her that he was fine and unharmed, but she insisted to seeing him so that she would be sure that he was truly safe. When she did see him, she remarked:

“Any affliction, after seeing that you are safe, is minor.”

Brothers and Sisters! Know that, someone who claims that he or she loves another will prefer that person to all others, he will also prefer what they like, if it were otherwise then he would be acting and his love would not be sincere. The following signs will be apparent in those who truly love the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

1- The first sign of love for the Prophet (Peace be upon him), is that he or she will follow his example, apply his Prophetic way (his Sunnah) in words, deeds, obedience to his commands, avoidance of whatever he prohibited and adopt his manner in times of ease, hardship, joy and disappointment. Allah says:

”Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Quran, 3: 31]

2- The second sign is that he or she will set aside his own desires and appetite in preference to the law established and encouraged by the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Allah says:

”And those who, before them, had made their dwelling in the abode (City of Madinah), and because of their belief love those who have emigrated to them; they do not find any (envy) in their chests for what they have been given and prefer them above themselves, even though they themselves have a need.” [Quran, 59: 9]

3- The third sign is that a person’s anger of others is only for the sake of seeking the pleasure of Allah. Anas Ibn Malik was told by the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

”My son, if you can refrain from holding a grudge in your heart from morning to evening, then do so.” He then added, “My son, that is part of my Prophetic way (my Sunnah). Whosoever revives my way (Sunnah) has loved me, and whosoever loves me is with me in the Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]

If a person possesses this fine quality, then he or she has perfect love for Allah and His Messenger. If he is found to be slightly lacking in this quality then his love is imperfect, but not devoid of it. The proof of this is found in the saying of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), when a person faced punishment for imbibing. As the person was about to receive his punishment a man cursed the offender, whereupon the Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:

”Do not curse him. He loves Allah and His Messenger.” [Al-Bukhari]

4- The fourth sign is that one mentions the Prophet (Peace be upon him), in abundance – whosoever loves something, it is constantly upon his tongue. [See Al Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huquq al-Mustafa]

5- The fifth sign is yearning to meet the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Every lover yearns to be with their beloved. When the tribe of Ash’arites approached Madinah, they were heard chanting, “Tomorrow, we will be with those we love, Muhammad and his Companions!” [See Dala’il an-Nabuwwah of Imam Al-Baihaqi]

6- The sixth sign is that as well as the remembrance of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), someone who loves him will be found praising and respecting him whenever he is mentioned and display humility, and lower himself when he hears his name. We are told by Ishaq At-Tujibi that after the passing of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), whenever the Companions heard his name they became humble, their skin trembled and they wept. As for the other followers of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), some experienced the same out of love and yearning for him, whereas others did so out of respect and esteem. [See Al Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huquq al-Mustafa]

7- The seventh sign is the love expressed for the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and the People of his House (Ahlul Bayt), and his Companions – the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) alike for his sake. A person with this sign will be found hostile to those who hate them.

Of Al Hasan and Al Husain, may Allah be pleased with them, the Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:

“O Allah, I love them, so please love them.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi]

Al-Hasan said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him), also said:

“O Allah, I love him, so love the one who loves him.”

Of his two grandsons, the Prophet (Peace be upon him), also said:

“Whosoever loves them, loves me.”

Then he (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whosoever loves me, loves Allah. Whosoever hates them hates me and whosoever hates me hates Allah.” [Ibn Majah and Majma’ az-Zawaid]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:

”Do not make my Companions targets after me! Whosoever loves them loves them because they love me, and whosoever hates them it is through their hatred of me. Whosoever harms them, harms me. Whosoever does something to hurt me does it is as if it is hurtful to Allah. Whosoever does something that appears to be hurtful to Allah is about to be seized.” [Tirmidhi and Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

Of his family, the Prophet (Peace be upon him), said referring to Sayyidah Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her, ”She is part of me, whosoever hates her hates me.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him), told Aisha to love Usamah Ibn Zaid because he loves him.” [Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him), spoke of the Ansar (Helpers) saying:

“The sign of certain faith is love for the Ansar, whereas the sign of hypocrisy is hatred for them.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn Umar tells us that the Prophet (Peace be upon him), said:

“Whosoever loves the Arabs loves them because he loves me. Whereas whosoever hates them hates them because of their hatred of me.” [See Al Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huquq al-Mustafa]

Brothers and Sisters! The fact is when someone loves another, he loves everything that person loves, and this was indeed the case with the Companions. When Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) saw the Prophet (Peace be upon him), eating a piece of pumpkin, he said: “From that day I loved pumpkins.” [See Al Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huquq al-Mustafa]

“Al-Hasan, the grandson of the Prophet, may the peace of Allah be upon them, went with Ja’afar to Salmah and asked her to prepare some food the Prophet (Peace be upon him), used to eat.” [See Shama’il Tirmidhi]

“Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once saw the Prophet (Peace be upon him), wearing a pair of yellow coloured Sandals, so he too wore a pair of the same colour.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

8- The eighth sign is hatred of anyone who hates Allah and His Messenger, praise and peace be upon him. Such people are those who show hostility towards Allah and His Messenger. Believers having this sign avoid all those who oppose the Prophetic way (his Sunnah), and are in opposition to those who introduce innovations (Bid’ah) into the Prophetic way (that are against the spirit of Islam) and find the law he established burdensome. Allah says:

“You shall find no nation or people believing in Allah and the Last Day loving anyone that opposes Allah and His Messenger.” [Quran, 58: 22]

9- The ninth sign is found in those who love the Quran which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) brought, by which they were guided. When asked about the Prophet (Peace be upon him), Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said:

“His character was that of the Quran.”

Part of the love of the Quran is listening to its recitation, acting according to it, understanding it, keeping within its bounds and the love of Prophet Muhammad’s way. [See Al Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huquq al-Mustafa]

Sahl Ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with them) spoke of this sign saying:

“The sign of loving Allah is love of the Quran. The sign of loving the Quran is the love of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The sign of loving the Prophet (Peace be upon him), is love of his Prophetic way (his Sunnah). The sign of loving the Prophetic way is the love of the Hereafter. The sign of loving the Hereafter is hatred for this world. The sign of hatred for this world is that you do not amass any of it except for provisions and what you need to arrive safely with in the Hereafter.” [See Al Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huquq al-Mustafa]

Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

”No one needs to ask himself about anything other than the Quran, if he loves the Quran then he loves Allah and His Messenger (Praise and peace be upon him).” [Imam Al-Baihaqi in Adaab]

10- The tenth sign of love for the Prophet (Peace be upon him), is to have mercy on his Ummah, his nation by advising them well, striving for the betterment of their interest and removing anything that is harmful from them in the same way that the Prophet (Peace be upon him), was:

“Gentle, kind and merciful to the believers.” [Quran, 9: 128]

11- The eleventh sign of perfect love is found in whosoever restricts himself through self-denial, contentment, preferring poverty to the attractions of what is prohibited, haram in the world. The Prophet (Peace be upon him), told Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him):

“Poverty for those of you who love me flows quicker than a flood from a mountain’s peak to its base.” [Tirmidhi]

A man came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and said:

“O Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), I love you.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him), warned, “Be careful of what you say.” The man repeat his love for him thrice, whereupon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told him: “If you love me prepare yourself quickly for poverty.” [Tirmidhi]

12- The twelfth sign is you follow the message that he conveyed. This entails reciting, studying, and implementing the rulings of the Creator that were revealed through His Messenger. Belief in the divine scripture is just one part of faith; implementing its rulings in your life is another.

13- The thirteenth sign is you love to follow the Sunnah. Every individual will vary in their love of the Sunnah and thus their love of the Messenger (Peace be upon him). The more you love the Sunnah, the more you’ll try to implement it in your life. You’ll never hear the words “It’s just a Sunnah” coming out of your mouth, primarily because you’ll do anything to follow his path. Instead, every time you learn about a Sunnah, you’ll be eager to implement it in your life. When you learn that something contradicts the Sunnah, you tend to stay away from it lest you fall into religious innovation. You also ensure that what you’re doing on a daily basis is legitimate and has some basis in the Quran or Sunnah.

14- The fourteenth sign is you study his Sirah (His Biography) and encourage others to do so. Every Muslim should study the biography of the Prophet (Peace be upon him); his compassion, his love, his dedication, his sincerity, his beauty, his exalted character, his concern for his Ummah, and what he went through to convey this message to the rest of the world. The Companions used to teach their children the Sirah from a young age. This is one of the greatest signs you love the Messenger (Peace be upon him) because you want to know more about him and his life, and oftentimes you’ll see those who love him study the sirah multiple times.

15- The fifteenth sign is you ask Allah to send prayers upon him often. Saying “Allahummah Salli ala Muhammad” in any of its appropriate variations is asking Allah to send peace and blessings and mercy upon the beloved Messenger, and every time you do it, Allah the Almighty will send upon you ten times the blessings and mercy in your life. Furthermore, every time you send salutations upon him, an angel appointed next to the Messenger (Peace be upon him) conveys your prayers to him. Finally, the more you send prayers upon him, the closer you’ll be to him on the Day of Resurrection and the more of his intercession you’ll have on that severe day.

16- The sixteenth sign is you love all the things he loved and all the people he loved. This includes acts of worship (fasting Mondays and Thursdays or praying at night) and countless Sunan (such as using the siwak) as well as the people he loved and those who loved him, such as Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, his entire family, and the Companions in general. This is a litmus test for many who claim to love the Messenger but believe in fabrications and lies against his noble Companions.

17- The seventeenth sign is you frequently remember his life and wish to be with him. When you love someone, you find yourself thinking about them often. The more you love the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), the more you’ll refer back to his life and the more you’ll pray that Allah grants you reunion with him in the Hereafter, in the highest levels of Paradise.

O Allah, grant us true and complete love for your Messenger and his Sunnah and allow us to be upon his path in this life and to rejoice with him in the next life.

O Almighty Allah! We ask you to fill our hearts with the true, sincere and immense love of your Beloved Habib Karim Alaihi af Dalus Salati wat Taslim. Keep us alive O Allah on his Sunnah and bless us with the death on Iman.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. Ameen Ya Rabb!

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Safar 6, 1439 AH (October 27, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.

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